With liquor shops shut in Delhi, sales in Gurugram up by 33%: Excise dept
This was primarily due to several stores being shut or running without adequate stocks in the neighbouring Delhi in the wake of uncertainties over the continuance of a revised excise policy
Gurugram: The sale of Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL) and imported foreign liquor (IFL) has gone up by nearly 33% in Gurugram due to several stores being shut or running without adequate stocks in the neighbouring Delhi in the wake of uncertainties over the continuance of a revised excise policy, senior excise department officials said on Monday.
VK Beniwal, deputy commissioner of excise and taxation, Gurugram (east), said liquor demand in the city has increased in the last two days, and shopkeepers have enhanced their orders across labels. “Many owners have applied for labels to ensure their shops are equipped with bottles from all brands, and they have adequate stock. There has been an increase of 33% in the sales of IMFL and IFL” he said, and added that even though beer is cheaper in Delhi, people from the Capital are buying it in Delhi because of poor availability.
The lieutenant governor of Delhi VK Saxena has ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the alleged lapses into the implementation of the Delhi government’s excise policy, following which the AAP dispensation has decided to revert to the older version of the policy as a temporary measure.
However, a delayed notification to extend the older policy had led to uncertainty over the continuation of the private liquor vends, licences of which were expiring on July 31, and a consequent rush at the shops and poor stocks.
According to several liquor shop owners, they have placed orders for additional stocks and have stopped offering discounts from Monday. “After the new excise policy, Delhi residents who used to buy bottles from Gurugram, had started buying liquor in their own city as the new policy allowed the vendors to buy discounts. This led to competitive pricing. The beer cases were sold at half the prices than Gurugram. Even the volume of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) sold in Delhi shops were much higher, impacting our business,”said Bhupinder Singh, a manager at a liquor vend on Sohna Road.
Liquor shop owners have to get their liquor permit after the excise department approves their labels for the sale of each bottle. The department has received requests from many liquor vends on Monday, indicating that they were stocking up in view of the increased sale.
“Since Saturday, the footfall has increased and the demand for imported liquor has gone up. We have withdrawn discounts introduced earlier to compete with vends in the Capital as we were hardly making any profits,” Sandeep Singh said.
Shopkeepers said since liquor in Haryana does not have a maximum retail price (MRP), they can sell it at any price without having to give discounts, and still offer customers better deals than Delhi.
The owner of at least three liquor shops in Gurugram, who asked not to be named, said that liquor vendors have to make a joint decision of not offering discounts now. “We all will have to strictly follow the practice and offer same prices. This will help each one of us to sustain in business,” he said requesting anonymity.
Beniwal said the situation in Delhi was proving to be a boon for Gurugram’s liquor business, but added that it was only short-term gain since when the vends in the Capital resume business, the sales in the Millennium City will definitely come down. “We have enough stock of all brands, and all the stock is regularly maintained at wholesale vendors. Our teams are monitoring sales to ensure the stock is updated every week,” he said.
Jitender Sharma, who runs a liquor vend in the city, said they have suffered losses during the Covid pandemic, and because of the competitive prices in Delhi. He said the recent spike in business will help them some extra and remain in business. “Many had otherwise planned to surrender their liquor licence due to the losses they suffered over the past two years,” he said.
Gurugram has about 328 liquor shops, mostly at prime locations. The prices of imported foreign liquor (IFL) in Gurugram has come down following the reduction in the excise duty and value-added tax (VAT) as part of Haryana’s new excise policy which was approved in May. The cess on IMFL was also reduced, but only for limited brands, including Blenders Pride, Teachers, 100 Pipers.
Beniwal added that even though discounts have stopped, the excise department is monitoring that the vendors do not spike the prices.
Haryana deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala, who also holds the portfolios of excise and taxation, said the state has enough stocks and that the government was keeping an eye on the developing situation in the Capital.
The prices of some popular brands on Monday were as follows: Red Label and Ballantine’s (both whisky brands) and Absolut Blue (vodka) for ₹1,150 per 750ml bottle; Jacob’s Creek red and white wines at ₹1,000 per 750ml; Jameson Irish (whisky) at ₹1,550 per 750ml bottle; Tanqueray (gin) at ₹1,500 per 750ml bottle; Bombay Sapphire (gin) at ₹1,600 per 750ml bottle; Chivas Regal (12 years) at ₹2,200 per 750ml bottle; Jack Daniel’s at ₹2,150 per 750ml bottle; Glenfiddich and Glenlivet at ₹3,000 per 750ml bottle and Monkey Shoulder at ₹2,850 per 750ml bottle.One beer case of 12 bottles is being sold for ₹1,300.